In Hindi the word garam means hot or heating and masala, a mixture of spices. The Hindu teachings about health refers to effects of spices in the body. Garam Masala is a mixture of those which create heat in the body--cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and cardamom. Toasting the spices before grinding releases their essential oils. Masalas are prized for their aromatic qualities and are usually formulated for a specific use. This masala, however, is a basic blend that is used alone or with other seasonings. If used in cooking, they are best used towards the end of cooking period to get the full effect of their aroma. Garam Masala can also be sprinkled over a finished dish as a garnish.
3 3-inch pieces cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon cardamom pods
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Place a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the spices and lightly roast until the seeds begin to "pop" and they become fragrant. Be careful that they do not burn.
Allow the spices to cool, and grind until fine in a spice mill.